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I wrote about Everybody Draw Muhammad Day in an earlier post :
I think the idea is in bad taste and here’s why : When South Park lampoons public figures, celebrities and holy figures, they are doing it as satire — something the creators think of as serving as a larger purpose. But drawing Muhammad is just to offend an entire community, without any other purpose. It will include Muslims who were probably offended by South Park, but left it at that.
That being said, I have way less of a problem with it than with extremists issuing threats.
That day is tomorrow, and its effects are visible. Pakistan banned Facebook until May 31st. And photos are being uploaded by the thousands at the Facebook page. As I would expect, there is hardly any satirical (or otherwise) value in most of the photos. They’re derogatory — and in many instances, racist — comments directed at Muslims in general.
The campaign guys have every right to continue with the campaign, but I don’t agree with them. It is in bad taste and partly racist, but they have every right to be stupid.
I’m not sure how I would react to something that offended me. For starters, I can’t come up with anything that would offend me, but I know this : If I were to be offended by someone, I would disagree and ignore, but defend the offender’s right.
Dammit! Why can’t I think of anything that would offend me?!
Cafe Pyala, one of the good Pakistani blogs I follow, has a post on this, much of which I disagree with:
The US 1st (free speech) Amendment does legally protect all forms of speech but even in the US, it is socially and politically suicidal to say anything in the mainstream media that questions certain sacred cows, such as the right of Israel to exist, having sex with those ‘under age’, or to make fun of Jesus. I am not weighing in on the merits of these prohibitions, only pointing out that the freedom always exists within certain limits prescribed by society.
There are enough voices against Israel in the U.S., almost every second person makes fun of Jesus and I didn’t get how sex with those ‘under age’ is pertinent. I agree there need to be limits on free speech (mostly dealing with extreme forms of hate speech such as direct incitement to violence), but the bar on the limits shouldn’t be so low that free speech isn’t free speech anymore.
To get an idea of what is allowed in the U.S., any standup act of Bill Maher is a good starting point.
Yes, I’m alive.
Now back to business.
A must watch video of Bill Maher giving it to the Republicans in his trademark style and challenging President Obama to stand up for the “70% Americans who aren’t crazy”. There are just too many gems of sentences in there to quote, so kindly watch the whole damn thing.
I don’t think a fair debate on healthcare is ever going to be possible, although extremism and alarmist attitudes need to be nipped before theycause some serious damage. The problem is essentially now this – too many stupid people are falling prey to the Fox News anchors and conservative rumor mongers and too many smart people are either indifferent to the whole thing or content watching late night shows mocking the first set of people.
Thanks to those who have been checking in and not finding updates (another reason why you should subscribe to the RSS feeds). Be kind enough to follow the tweets when posts run dry here. I have heard that god kills a kitten every time someone doesn’t follow me on Twitter.
A lot of speculation has gone into the strange simultaneous silence from me and a certain politician. We are both going through a hard time and wouldn’t like to talk about it. Kindly respect our privacy.
This is not so much of a movie review of Religulous as it is a few after-thoughts. The documentary (or more rightly, a mockumentary) Religulous is Bill Maher’s take on the state of world religion. Bill Maher is a well known standup comedian and atheist, so you know where the documentary is headed.
It makes for an engaging watch no doubt, and not because of cinematic excellence, but the extreme characters he chooses to stitch together. All the characters he meets are fundamentalist in their approach towards religion and end up saying all kinds of bizarre stuff that in the end, either you a) pity them and the religions they represent or b) disregard Bill Maher as someone who is out to ridicule your and everyone’s faith.
The documentary refers to Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Scientology and Mormonism trying to showcase and ridicule the hypocrisy in them, or more specifically, in any organized religion.
And that is one of my problems with atheists. Most atheists tend to be fundamentalists. While fundamentalism in religion is dangerous, fundamentalism out of religion too is. Although to be fair, maybe not to the same extent. But fundamentalism turns any debate into a fight, which is against the whole idea of a debate.
While some atheists may argue that it is not a religion, it isn’t tough to see how it is one.
Personally speaking, any debate on religion (or lack thereof) makes absolutely no sense to me. Assuming atheism too is a religion, as long as any religion is inbound, there is no cause of concern. Sadly, for most people, religion is outbound.
On that note, check out an excellent movie called Anbe Sivam, which touches this topic in a wonderful way without stereotyping atheism. The movie is in Tamil but I am sure you will find English subtitles.